Breaking down is an unfortunate event that most people will experience once in their life but making sure that you are prepared in case of it happening is a necessity. In this guide, we’ve covered breakdown cover; the kinds you can get, what they provide and some steps you can take to prevent issues.
Cars are far more reliable nowadays than they once were, but problems can still strike at any time. If your vehicle breaks down and you don’t have a policy in place, you could face a perfect storm of problems, which could prove stressful and expensive.
No one wants to end up stuck on the roadside not knowing whom to call, potentially placing you at risk, especially if the breakdown happens far from home, or in the dead of night.
You will likely face an expensive bill for repairs and a tow truck, or for a last-minute sign-up to a breakdown service provider, which will always cost you more than arranging cover in advance.
With all the above in mind, it’s common sense to ensure you never drive off without a valid breakdown cover policy in place, and with some breakdown cover providers offering their services from less than £20 per year, there’s no reason not to buy a policy.
Do you already have cover?
One of the first things you should do is to check your bank, insurance provider and the car manufacturer as some will provide breakdown cover as a bonus with their services. Some banks, especially those with premium accounts and rewards, offer breakdown cover as part of the range of bonuses you get with your account.
Check your current car insurance policy to find out if you have breakdown cover already included. If you don’t, ask them how much it would cost to add breakdown to the policy, it is often much better value, adding breakdown cover this way.
With many car manufacturers, they now include breakdown cover as part of the services they provide to you when you buy a brand new car from them. This is almost always included with lease cars etc., but it is still worth checking first.
The benefit of having cover with a manufacturer is that they will take you to a manufacturer approved garage rather than the nearest one. This is often standard with warranties or can be purchased as an additional package.
Types of breakdown cover
UK breakdown cover
The most common form of breakdown cover is UK breakdown, and as is implied in the name, it covers you for UK breakdowns. It’s a good idea when you sign up for UK breakdown cover to check that it does cover you in the entirety of the UK as under some scenarios it may not. For example, in snow or flooding, some providers are not necessarily obligated to come and get you, so do check.
European breakdown cover
If you are travelling on holiday and driving in Europe, it is vital that you buy a specific policy that covers you for European breakdown. It is crucial to check the small print, not only of countries listed and included but also what happens when you break down and the rules that involve vehicle recovery and repair. Some policies will only rescue you from the main roads; others include repair and replacement car if needed to continue on your trip.
Family breakdown cover
You probably want to make sure your whole family is suitably covered when they take to the roads. If so, this type of policy gives all family members the same level of cover at once, which is often reassuring peace of mind for parents who are sending out their teenage children for the first time. It can also work out cheaper than individual policies in some cases.
Multi-car breakdown cover
Many households now have more than one vehicle, and you wouldn’t want to get caught out if you happened to break down in the wrong one! If you have more than one car, a multi-car breakdown cover policy is an excellent choice, not only regarding great price but also as it means that you don’t have to have two different policies for each car.
Commercial breakdown cover
If you use your vehicle for work as well as pleasure, then you may not be protected by a regular consumer breakdown policy – so check your current policy and look at commercial breakdown cover as an option if you use your vehicle for business purposes.
What to do once you’ve bought a policy
Congratulations, you’ve now got the right breakdown cover for you! Now that you’ve got your policy sorted it’s a good idea to use following steps in case the worst happens, and you do break down.
Take a photocopy of the policy details and put it into the glove box or secure place of the vehicle with a pen.
Make sure you have a mobile phone and a portable charger that is fully charged in the car
Put a torch in the car in case you break down at night
A high visibility jacket should also be in the boot of the car
Ensure passengers have something warm in the car, especially in winter, if you break down on the motorway you may need to stand away from the vehicle for a long period.
Once you’ve done all of this, you’re good to go! Stay safe out there and remember to drive carefully to avoid breaking down!